Managing community knowledge to build a better world

Our planet faces many impending crises as a consequence of growing populations and rising affluence. Governmental bodies at any level seem unable to provide the leadership to mitigate these. It seems to be up to those in the community who are most directly affected to take the leadership. Yet, without access to knowledge and understanding, individuals and communities are powerless against administrative juggernauts that are all too often beholden to a few powerful individuals rather than the communities they are supposed to represent and support. However, the Internet and newly invented social and cloud computing technologies provide individuals with fingertip access to humanity’s knowledge base; tools for extracting, evaluating, and sharing knowledge that is relevant to local needs; as well as tools for socially coordinating that action to promote and guide action. This paper reviews some of these tools and discusses how they can be applied for good or ill.


Posted in Community, Community knowledge | Tagged ,

How to Work a Crowd: Developing Crowd Capital Through Crowdsourcing

Traditionally, the term ‘crowd’ was used almost exclusively in the context of people who self-organized around a common purpose, emotion, or experience. Today, however, firms often refer to crowds in discussions of how collections of individuals can be engaged for organizational purposes. Crowdsourcing–defined here as the use of information technologies to outsource business responsibilities to crowds–can now significantly influence a firm’s ability to leverage previously unattainable resources to build competitive advantage. Nonetheless, many managers are hesitant to consider crowdsourcing because they do not understand how its various types can add value to the firm. In response, we explain what crowdsourcing is, the advantages it offers, and how firms can pursue crowdsourcing. We begin by formulating a crowdsourcing typology and show how its four categories—crowd voting, micro-task, idea, and solution crowdsourcing—can help firms develop ‘crowd capital,’ an organizational-level resource harnessed from the crowd. We then present a three-step process model for generating crowd capital. Step one includes important considerations that shape how a crowd is to be constructed. Step two outlines the capabilities firms need to develop to acquire and assimilate resources (e.g., knowledge, labor, funds) from the crowd. Step three outlines key decision areas that executives need to address to effectively engage crowds.


Posted in Crowd, Crowdfunding | Tagged ,

The future of crowd work

Paid crowd work offers remarkable opportunities for improving productivity, social mobility, and the global economy by engaging a geographically distributed workforce to complete complex tasks on demand and at scale. But it is also possible that crowd work will fail to achieve its potential, focusing on assembly-line piecework. Can we foresee a future crowd workplace in which we would want our children to participate? This paper frames the major challenges that stand in the way of this goal. Drawing on theory from organizational behavior and distributed computing, as well as direct feedback from workers, we outline a framework that will enable crowd work that is complex, collaborative, and sustainable. The framework lays out research challenges in twelve major areas: workflow, task assignment, hierarchy, real-time response, synchronous collaboration, quality control, crowds guiding AIs, AIs guiding crowds, platforms, job design, reputation, and motivation.


Posted in Crowd work | Tagged

Thinking Like a Network

“Relationship is the fundamental truth of this world of appearance,” – Tagore

Over the past several years of supporting networks for social change, we at IISC have been constantly evolving our understanding of what is new and different when we call something a network, as opposed to a coalition, collaborative or alliance. On the surface, much can look the same, and one might also say that coalitions, collaboratives, and alliances are simply different forms of networks. While this is true, it is also the case that not every collaborative form maximizes network effects, including small-world reach, rapid dissemination, adaptability, resilience and system change. In this regard, experience shows that a big difference maker is when participants in a network (or an organization, for that matter) embrace new ways of seeing, thinking, and doing. The following revised list continues to evolve as our own practice and understanding does, and it speaks to a number of network principles to guide thinking and action.


Posted in Network theory, Networked society, Networks, Thinking | Tagged , ,

Designing Academic Conferences as a Learning Environment

The main aim in organizing academic conferences is to share and develop knowledge in the focus area of the conference. Most conferences, however, are organized in a traditional way: two or three keynote presentations and a series of parallel sessions where participants present their research work, mainly using PowerPoint or Prezi presentations, with little interaction between participants. Each year, a huge number of academic events and conferences is organized. Yet their typical design is mainly based on a passive way of sharing knowledge. No models for an adequate conference design and an appropriate learning environment are available. The overall conference design, however, is a crucial aspect in the learning of the participants and deserves special attention from conference organizers.


Posted in Academic, Conference, Learning | Tagged , ,

Movilidad Urbana: Una cuestión de derechos

Tendencias y retos sobre la gestión de movilidad urbana.

La planificación y el diseño urbano para garantizar acceso y cercanía.

La movilidad es lo que más va a cambiar las ciudades en el futuro. Como nos movemos; como paseamos; como vamos al trabajo. Los mayores desafíos a los que se enfrentan las ciudades hoy en día también están relacionados con ese aspecto: moverse.

Y es que el tráfico está paralizando las ciudades.

Leer I   –   Leer II

Posted in Urban mobility | Tagged

Networked Urbanism: Social Capital in the City

Despite considerable interest in social capital amongst urban policymakers and academics alike, there is currently little direct focus on its urban dimensions. In this volume leading urban researchers from the Netherlands, the UK, the USA, Australia, Italy and France explore the nature of social networks and the significance of voluntary associations for contemporary urban life.

Networked Urbanism recognizes that there is currently a sense of crisis in the cohesion of the city which has led to public attempts to encourage networking and the fostering of ‘social capital’. However, the contributors collectively demonstrate how new kinds of ‘networked urbanism’ associated with ghettoization, suburbanization, and segregation have broken from the kind of textured urban communities that existed in the past. This has generated new forms of exclusionary social capital, which fail to significantly resolve the problems of poor residents, whilst strengthening the position of the advantaged.

Grounded in theoretical reflection and empirical research, Networked Urbanism will be of interest to scholars and students of sociology, geography, and urban studies, as well as to policymakers.


Posted in Cities, Networked society, Social capital, Social network, Urbanization | Tagged , , , , ,

Global Cooperation depends on the strength of Local Connections

The story of humanity is one of extraordinary cooperation but also terrible conflict. We come together to build cities, civilizations, and cultures, but we also destroy these through violence against each other and degradation of our environment. Given that human nature is capable of both extremes, how can we design societies and institutions that help to bring out our better, more cooperative, instincts?

This question is not limited to humans. Life’s domains are replete with many forms of cooperation, from microbes sharing helpful molecules to dolphins providing aid to the injured. This kind of ‘altruistic’ behavior – helping others at one’s own expense – presents an evolutionary puzzle. As Charles Darwin put it in The Descent of Man (1871): ‘He who was ready to sacrifice his life … rather than betray his comrades, would often leave no offspring to inherit his noble nature.’ The question then becomes, what kinds of conditions lead to the evolution of cooperative behavior when we would normally expect selfishness to prevail?


Posted in Connections, Cooperation, Local | Tagged , ,

Why the future of social change belongs to community research

People don’t exist as isolated entities, and social programs, movements, or data analytic methods that assume they do are not aligned with reality—and may be doomed to fail. We all know that providing therapy or tutoring to a child may be less effective than hoped if the child’s parents, peers, school, and neighborhood are not also operating in a way that’s conducive to the child’s growth and well-being. Yet too often, we pass social policies or create interventions that are targeted only at the individual level. In a culture that overemphasizes the individual, community research draws on truths that are frequently ignored.

Community Psychology is probably one of the more complex fields in the social sciences because it embraces multiple levels of influence rather than simple individual differences.


Read also: Handbook of Methodological Approaches to Community-based Research

Handbook of Community-Based Participatory Research

Posted in Community, Community change, Research, Research methods | Tagged , , ,

Handbook of Mutual, Co-Operative, and Co-Owned Business

The Oxford Handbook of Mutuals and Co-Owned Business investigates all types of ‘member owned’ organizations, whether consumer cooperatives, agricultural and producer cooperatives, worker cooperatives, mutual building societies, friendly societies, credit unions, solidarity organizations, mutual insurance companies, or employee-owned companies. Such organizations can be owned by their consumers, the producers, or the employees – whether through single-stakeholder or multi-stakeholder ownership. This complex set of organizations is named differently across countries: from ‘mutual’ in the UK, to ‘solidarity cooperatives’ in Latin America. In some countries, such organizations are not even officially recognized and thus lack a specific denomination. For the sake of clarity, this Handbook will refer to member-owned organizations to encompass the variety of non-investor-owned organizations, and in the national case study chapters the terms used will be those most widely employed in that country. These alternative corporate forms have emerged in a variety of economic sectors in almost all advanced economies since the time of the industrial revolution and the development of capitalism, through the subsequent creation and dominance of the limited liability company. Until recently, these organizations were generally regarded as a rather marginal component of the economy. However, over the past few years, member-owned organizations have come to be seen in some countries, at least, as potentially attractive in light of their ability to tackle various economic and social concerns, and their relative resilience during the financial and economic crises of 2007-2013.


Posted in Co-Owned, Cooperatives, Social organization, Solidarity cooperatives | Tagged , , ,